By Jason Allan
KBB Expert Rating: 8.0
Mixing a segment-straddling starting price of just over $35,000 with premium-level amenities including an available Nappa leather upgrade, the 2014 Kia Cadenza large sedan is a new expression of the automaker's feature-driven value offering. Kia's largest and priciest offering to date, the Cadenza conveys a sportier image than either its Hyundai Azera corporate cousin or the benchmark Toyota Avalon, even if it isn't as fun to drive as the smaller Nissan Maxima or (barely) pricier Acura TL. The Cadenza isn't as to-the-bone refined as some of its more seasoned competitors, but the resulting ride and handling shortcomings are subtle at worst. The 2014 Cadenza is the latest surprise from Kia, but not to those familiar with the automaker's most recent offerings.
Sportier than Toyota Avalon and Chevy Impala, roomier than Nissan Maxima and an arguable alternative to premium-badged sedans like the Lexus ES 350 and Acura TL, the 2014 Kia Cadenza is hard not to like.
We like the Cadenza's ride/handling mix, but the segment offers both sportier and softer alternatives for those looking for a more focused option.
A new nameplate in a new category for Kia, the Cadenza is about as new as it gets.
Driving Impressions The 2014 Kia Cadenza isn't as sporty as it looks, but that's probably a good thing. In the front-wheel-drive large sedan segment, comfort is a higher priority than performance, and...... the firmer ride that typically accompanies more athletic handling isn't worth the compromise for most buyers. That's not to say the Cadenza is a softy – it's shown us a good time on some good roads – only that it plays in the same comfortable ballpark as its competitors.
ADVANCED SMART CRUISE CONTROL
The 2014 Kia Cadenza offers an adaptive cruise control system that will bring the vehicle to a full stop in sync with the car ahead, and automatically start forward again if the stop was two seconds or less.
WHITE INTERIOR PACKAGE
If you spend the extra $6,000 to add the Luxury and Technology packages, you'll have the opportunity to choose a ritzy white Nappa leather interior – free of charge.
The Cadenza's stylishly straightforward all-black dash is a big part of the car's sporty persona. Working backward, the front seats are good but not best-in-class, the rear seat is as roomy as you expect from a large sedan and the trunk is big enough to swallow an entire foursome's golf bags. The highlight, though, may be the overall sense of quality and refinement.Exterior
The 2014 Kia Cadenza is one of those un-radical designs that looks good at first, and then looks better and better as its reserved but powerful lines and subconsciously satisfying proportions work their way into your soul.
At its starting sticker price of $35,900 with destination, the 2014 Kia Cadenza includes keyless entry and pushbutton start, leather seating, an 8-inch central display, navigation, a 550-watt/12-speaker Infinity audio system with AM/FM/CD/MP3/Satellite radio, plus USB, Bluetooth and auxiliary audio connectivity. UVO eServices is also standard. In addition to a bunch of other cool infotainment capabilities – many of them voice-activated – Kia's next-gen UVO system leverages your smartphone to automatically call 911 in the event of an airbag deployment, and lets you send a navigation destination from your computer to the car.
A fully loaded 2014 Kia Cadenza is priced at $41,900 and includes premium-grade highlights such as smooth Nappa leather, an LCD gauge cluster, a ventilated driver's seat with extendable thigh support, Advanced Smart Cruise Control, a panoramic moonroof, and a bunch of other features you'll want to show your friends.
The Cadenza's sole powertrain comprises a 3.3-liter V6 engine matched with a 6-speed automatic transmission driving the front wheels. The setup is similar to what you'll find elsewhere in the segment, and the Kia's is as good as any of them. Similarly, fuel economy is about average for the category.
293 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
255 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/28 mpg
The 2014 Kia Cadenza starts at $35,900 with destination charges and tops out at $41,900, new highs for Kia. That starting price is closer to premium entries like the Acura TL and Lexus ES than mainstream competitors like the Toyota Avalon and Nissan Maxima, but the Cadenza's standard features set is also more premium-like. We expect the 2014 Kia Cadenza to benefit from the same rise in resale values that's improving the fiscal appeal of most Kia vehicles, but that's not to say they'll be on par with Toyota or Lexus. As always, don't make a move without arming yourself with the 2014 Kia Cadenza's Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price, which reflects actual marketplace transactions.
By DaveC on Thursday, December 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,300overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "Has nice shape and appearance"
Cons: "As indicated above"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Car has design problems and too much electronics,,,It is slow on takeoff and tends to wonder on highway......"
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By JScadenza on Wednesday, November 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,850overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Leather quality/feel, quiet, looks pricey!"
Cons: "Lacks bass in stereo. Lacks remote start!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This car idled as smooth as silk from the first time I started it up. Great highway cruiser and really shines on 2 lane highways/back roads. The price and features are competitive, but it's the little things like suede headliner and nappa leather that put it a notch or 2 above the direct competition. I'm over 200lbs and my seats look brand new, no wrinkles stretch marks or wear! I get in and out everyday, that alone is worth the price of admission for me. This powerful engine likes to loaf around town and pulls up a hill while barely tipping 1200 rpms. Kick this mule and it revs like a 4 cylinder and just keeps building a smooth progressive power band. If your looking for a floaty boat this is not your ride. I have the SXL with 19's and it's on the firm side. I think it's a good compromise of comfort and road handling, however if you're traditional you may find it a bit stiff. Stereo is crystal clear, but could use more bass. All in all, a great car."
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Car Nut on Tuesday, November 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great long distance travel car."
Cons: "8 way power passenger seat, resale value."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"7 month old Limited. Likes: exterior, wheels, interior, GPS, economy, quite, smooth, blind spot warning, backup camera. Went to the Miami auto show and came away with the satisfaction that I did not see anything I would rather be driving. Dislikes: Voice response, resale value."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful